Jun 27, 2018

Lolita Complex -- Not So Complex: Tomme du Fédou


You've probably got the wrong idea about sex in France. The truth of the matter is less, well, sexy than what you imagine. That is to say, it's not all wild abandon and mistresses and promiscuity, no matter how much the movies and jokes -- and occasional politicians -- embody that. I'm not sure whether this proves or disproves my point, but the French even have a new law, introducing for the first time in the country's history a legal age of sexual consent.

chart and information taken from https://www.statista.com/statistics/789126/youth-first-sexual-experience-france-by-age/

Until now, adults having sex with young children in France would only have been considered rape if there was evidence of the child resisting. A recent court case against two grown men who had sex with 11 year-old girls brought the point home, and the French have now set the age of consent to 15.

This, of course, makes it sound like up until now young French youth have been rolling around in the hay all day. In fact, in one study in 2010 by the Institut National d'Etudes Demographiques, the average age for the French to lose their virginity is a very non-shocking 17.6 for girls and 17.4 for boys. In the graph above, from Statista, you can see the another visual representation of the age of first sexual activity in France.

Just a year ago, Durex (the condom brand) conducted a 44-country survey called the Face of Global Sex and determined the average age overall, for French boys and girls to have their first sexual experience is 18.5. That age is actually older than the average age in the US, according to the same survey, which is 18, so I think Americans have lost the right to consider the French promiscuous. (And just for the sake of curiosity: the list ranges from #44, Iceland at age 15.6 up to #1 Malaysia at age 23). I'm not sure if the age has increased from 2010 to 2017, though that's a possibility, or if, more likely, it's just not that accurate. The average age in the UK is 18.3, and I tell you this because on a recent trip to London, I found these condoms and want to have an excuse to share them with you.

At ages 14 and 12, our daughters' friends are mostly ages 11-15, and I am pleased as punch to report that while they've all had clear sex education in schools -- even in the French Catholic schools -- they haven't seemed to need it yet. If anything, I think it's pretty clear that their American peers are talking more about sex, are more sex-obsessed, and have started more blatant sexual activities, especially in the high school years, than their French counterparts. So, say what you will about sexuality in France, but I think a good deal of it seems to be outdated stereotype.

THE CHEESE: Tomme du Fédou

Tomme du Fédou, which you can also sometimes find labeled as Tomme Brebis Fédou, is, as the alternate name suggests, a sheep cheese. It's a raw milk, semi-hard cheese from Lozère in the Occitanie region of southern France. It's a rocky, shrubby, relatively infertile land in the southern heat, which makes it just perfect for sheep grazing.

The cheese is aged several months and ends up semi-hard but with a lovely aged, nutty flavor. It tastes like sunshine, with a hint of the grasses and weeds the sheep eat. Like its neighboring and much more famous sheep cheese, Ossau-Iraty, the Tomme du Fédou is delicious with fruit in general and cherries, and cherry jam, in particular.

Because it is aged (over 60 days is the regulation), you can even find it in the US sometimes, despite the fact that it is unpasteurized. Lucky you!


It's perfectly OK to love your cheeses fresh and young. However, Tomme du Fédou is nicely aged, fully ripe, and mature, which seems appropriate for this story -- and for sexual activity in general.


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